June 7, 1998

On a splendidly beautiful Texas morning with the heat of the day still hours away, Jim kissed his wife before leaving for work.

“Ah, Jim, I wish you’d told me that your shirt was stained. I would have washed it.”

“It’s not that bad, Moll. Hardly noticeable.”

“Well, I saw it and I want you to look your best. I’m proud of you. And it wouldn’t hurt if you want that promotion.”

“I’ll see you later, Moll.”

“You be careful, hon.”

Jim walked the few hundred yards to the station, arriving promptly at eight o’clock. A few minutes later, Matt, one of the senior officers, took a call. When he hung up, he barked to the office at large. “A body’s just been found up on Huff Creek Road. We’re all going. Jim, you’re with me.”

In the car, Matt said, “I hope you’re not squeamish, Jim,” but he was otherwise silent. They were among the first to arrive. The body of what had once been a black man lay in the middle of the road, minus the head and right arm. A trail of dry blood led away to the west.

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